Argonne's composite structure uses an active component that gives charge storage embedded in an inactive component for structural stability. In recent tests, the materials showed charge-storage capacities exceeding 250 mA-hr/gm, or more than twice the capacity of materials in conventional rechargeable lithium batteries.

The use of manganese-rich systems instead of the more-expensive cobalt and nickel versions of lithium batteries lowers overall cost. Potential applications include cell phones, laptop computers, cordless tools and medical devices such as cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators. Larger batteries incorporating the technology could work in next-generation hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Funding for the work comes form the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program.